Although, given its functions and capabilities, secret cyber Praetorian Guard would appear to be a more historically relevant description:
With his revelations exposing the extent of potential, and actual, pervasive NSA surveillance over the American population, Edward Snowden has done a great service for the public by finally forcing it to answer the question: is having Big Brother peek at every private communication and electronic information, a fair exchange for the alleged benefit of the state’s security. Alas, without further action form a population that appears largely numb and apathetic to disclosures that until recently would have sparked mass protests and toppled presidents, the best we can hope for within a political regime that has hijacked the democratic process, is some intense introspection as to what the concept of “America” truly means.
However, and more importantly, what Snowden’s revelations have confirmed, is that behind the scenes, America is now actively engaged in a new kind of war: an unprecedented cyber war, where collecting, deciphering, intercepting, and abusing information is the only thing that matters and leads to unprecedented power, and where enemies both foreign and domestic may be targeted without due process based on a lowly analyst’s “whim.”
It has also put spotlight on the man, who until recently deep in the shadows, has been responsible for building America’s secret, absolutely massive cyber army, and which according to a just released Wired profile is “capable of launching devastating cyberattacks. Now it’s ready to unleash hell.”
Meet General Keith Alexander, “a man few even in Washington would likely recognize”, which is troubling because Alexander is now quite possibly the most powerful person in the world, that nobody talks about.
I have little doubt that General Alexander is, within the constraints imposed upon him by the nature of his job and career path, a decent man who operates within the limits that have been set for him by his superiors, though obviously not the legal ones imposed by the U.S. Constitution. However, it doesn’t take a superintelligence or a Roman historian to figure out where this arrangement is likely to end up as soon as a sufficiently ambitious or ideologically driven individual manages to take control of the cyberwar apparatus.
Meanwhile, Edward Snowden has safely landed in Moscow and a ship bound for Syria, rumored to be carrying American weapons for the Syrian rebels, has mysteriously cracked in two on the high seas and has been abandoned.
Curiouser and curiouser….
UPDATE: It appears Mr. Snowden is heading for Ecuador:
“The government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Edward J.
Snowden,” Patino said. WikiLeaks said in a statement that Mr Snowden is “bound for the Republic
of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being
escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.”